Tag Archives: Tite Kubo

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 50 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 50     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 6, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

A curious Ichigo has accepted Ginjo’s invitation and gone to see what he has to say. He is more than surprised when Chad shows up, having not seen him at school for a while. Ginjo goes on to explain that everyone there has something in common—parents who were attacked by Hollows before each of them was born. This left them with residual powers that are closer to that of a Hollow than a Soul Reaper. The problem is they are disgusted by this power and want to get rid of it. Through trial and error, they learn that this can be done by transferring the powers to someone who is both soul reaper and human. Ichigo certainly fills that bill! Therefore, if they give their powers to Ichigo, he can be a soul reaper again and they will have gotten rid of them. Win-win, right?

Ichigo agrees to be trained by them for the purpose of taking their powers. But he’s confused when Ruriko brings out a doll house and looks at him expectantly. Seriously? She wants him to train inside that? But she does, and she demonstrates her Fullbring power of doll house, placing him inside the house. Fullbring is the power these people have, one she says Ichigo has too. But he isn’t alone in this place. There is a huge pig there. Ruriko tells him to use his Fullbring power to beat the pig so he can get out of the house. Is that even possible?

Meanwhile, a concerned Orihime goes to Chad’s apartment. But as she stands there, she is addressed by a young man who asks if she would mind dying? But once Orihime turns toward him, the young thug is so stunned by her beauty that he loses focus on why he is there and finds it impossible to attack her. Orihime is polite… until she thinks he attacked Uryu. But another man appears and claims responsibility for the attack.

As Chad and Ichigo walk home together, Chad suddenly realizes there is a problem with Orihime’s spiritual pressure, so the two hurry to her apartment. But when they arrive, Orihime says she’s fine, and a friend had been with her. Ichigo and Chad are confused but can prove nothing. Ichigo calls Ginjo to see if he has any idea what is going on… and he does.

Back to training for Ichigo… this time with Jackie Tristan!

I have to admit this is one of my least favorite Bleach arcs, and I find the Fullbringers annoying. But it’s for a good cause, to help Ichigo regain his soul reaper powers. He has obviously been lost without them, and I know he misses Rukia and Renji and the others. Ruriko is very annoying but I find it amusing that despite her nasty words toward Ichigo she obviously has a huge crush on him. So let’s move through this arc quickly and get on to other things.

Still well worth reading!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 48 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 48   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 2, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Gin returns to Aizen’s side claiming to have killed Matsumoto. However, Aizen’s no fool, and he realizes Gin wants to kill him, but he just isn’t sure how he intends to do that. But why would Gin want to kill Aizen?

Ichigo has finally returned and is ready to face Aizen. Aizen is disappointed, telling Ichigo he feels no spirit energy from him. “You’ve failed to evolve. You’ve failed to take advantage of the final opportunity I gave  you.” Ichigo tells him he wants to fight him somewhere else, and while Aizen is still voicing his objections, Ichigo has overpowered him and pushed him to another place, shocking Aizen. Suddenly Aizen realizes why Ichigo has no spirit energy… he’s converted it into physical strength.

Is this truly the final battle? How much can Aizen change? Has Ichigo learned the final stage of his bankai, and at what price? And what has Kiskue to do with anything?

This is really it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The battle of battles between Ichigo and Aizen. And let me tell you it does not disappoint, neither is it clear from the start who will emerge victorious. Naturally, we all hope it will be Ichigo, and of course it is because there still many volumes of this series left to read. Even so, if you don’t know that, it’s very exciting to watch. For the first time, I felt empathy for Gin, even though he has been nothing but a rat in previous volumes. But now all has been revealed, and I actually cried for him, and feel bad for Matsumoto. She actually helped to humanize the snake that was Gin, and when push comes to shove, Gin, we hardly knew ye.

Aizen deserved worse than he got, wonder if we’re through with him. I hope so, I’ve seen enough of him to last a life time. Now life goes on, but for Ichigo it will bring serious changes. How will he handle them? Only time will tell. Wonderful end to the Arrancar arc, looking forward to seeing what is in store for them next!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 47 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 47       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kira watches in disbelief as a very wounded Matsumoto ignores her injuries to go to the battle between Gin and Ichigo. Meanwhile, the new—but not improved—Aizen is still deep in conversation with Kiskue and Yoruichi. As usual, Aizen is condescending and laughs at their attempts to battle him. And then Isshin unexpectedly arrives.

Just as Gin threatens to kill Ichigo there and then, Aizen appears, having broken out of his chrysalis form, and asks what he’s doing, to which Gin replies he is only playing with the boy. Aizen orders him to open the Senkaimon and they take their departure. As they pass through, Aizen the arrogant decides he wants to play with the Kototsu, desite Gin’s warnings that is not a good idea. But Aizen gonna do what Aizen gonna do. When Isshin and Ichigo follow, Isshin realizes what Aizen has done, and he knows just how to use that to their advantage. He can train Ichigo in the final stage of his Bankai. Thanks Aizen!

And now back to the actual Karakura Town… Keigo awakens to a surreal sight. Everyone in town is sleeping in the streets. What is going on here? Hysterical, he begins to run around, yelling for people to wake up. Luckily, he runs into Arisawa, who calms him down with a quick but effective punch. They begin to gather their friends and take them to safety as obviously something is very wrong here. Meanwhile, Isshin holds down the fort while Ichigo meets with Zangetsu for his training. But this isn’t the Zangetsu he is used to.

Gin and Aizen have arrived in Karakura Town, and they run into Keigo and Arisawa. Gin tells her, “You seems to be in some trouble, girl. You should call for a hero at a time like this.” And just like that one arrives, one we’ve not seen in quite some time. But can he really be the hero that is called for? And is he enough to stop Aizen and Gin? Common sense says no.

We seem to be nearing the end of this arc. How it will end is still up in the air. Of course, the good side will prevail, but just how they’ll do it remains to be seen. I really enjoyed watching Ichigo train with Zengetsu. You have to respect him for doing what is right, even though he understands the price that is attached to what he is doing. And the unexpected reappearance of both Don Kanonji and Fro Man was great! The scenes with Keigo and Ichigo’s other friends was a bit of comic relief in an increasingly dramatic arc. From the beginning, they said only Ichigo can beat Aizen. We’ll see how true that may be in the next volume. Can’t wait!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 46 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 46

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The battle between Ichigo and Aizen continues! Ever arrogant, Aizen tells Ichigo he missed his chance to kill him. “That was my last vulnerable moment.”  Then he reveals that it’s not due to super powerful regeneration skills, rather it’s because he has fused with the Hogyoku! Aizen further reveals that he has been watching and controlling Ichigo’s growth and development… from the time he was born? How is this even possible? Ichigo is confused, naturally, as he tries to process Aizen’s words. Flustered, he demands Aizen explain himself. But just as Aizen is about to tell Ichigo something perhaps he shouldn’t, another country is heard from, as Isshin Kurosaki appears, in full Soul Reaper uniform! What is going on here?

Isshin takes on Aizen, leaving Ichigo to deal with Gin.  Ichigo and Gin battle, but their fight spills over and interrupts the conversation Aizen is having with Isshin (or is that lecture?). But suddenly, another contestant enters the arena, none other than Kiskue Uruhara! AIzen is not surprised to see him, having been awaiting his appearance. He accuses Kiskue of being jealous of Aizen’s ability to control the Hogyoku. Uruhara manages to trap Aizen, but he knows that won’t last, and sure enough the villain returns, but he has… changed. What does this portend? And Ichigo is still in the midst of his battle with Gin, who warns him that they have no idea of Aizen’s true powers.

You didn’t think the fight would end that quickly, did you? Seriously? This is an epic battle, and it will not be told in one volume, or even two. The appearance of Ichigo’s father, and the questions that are left unanswered, is mind-boggling. But Ichigo shows an unexpected maturity when he sets his questions aside. “I don’t know how to ask you without being disrespecting you, so I’ll wait.” He has certainly grown since we first met him 46 volumes ago, hasn’t he? Aizen, as usual, has to run his mouth, but this makes for interesting conversation between him and Isshin, who has thrown off his usual doofy mannerisms and reveals himself for who he really is. Ichigo and Gin’s interactions makes for a fascinating read too. And at the very end, a very wounded Matsumoto becomes aware of Gin’s proximity and begins to stir. Guess we’ll see what’s up in the next volume!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 45 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 45

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 7, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Shinji’s sword has an unusual shape… and Aizen has no idea what it can do. But he’s about to find out. Apparently Shinji’s sword changes up to down, front to back, right to left, left to right. Aizen doesn’t seem particularly concerned, but maybe he should look behind him, because here comes Ichigo!

Aizen just loves to taunt people, and he wastes no time trying to chip away at Ichigo’s ego. But the Thirteen Court Guard captains quickly step up and assure Ichigo they will protect him. Aizen turns his attention to Hitsugaya, hitting him where it hurts—Hinamori. But Shunsui takes advantage of Aizen’s preoccupation with the diminutive captain to sneak up on him. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, Gin thinks how clueless they all are regarding Aizen’s powers.

Ichigo is being careful not to witness Aizen’s shikai. But the others, having seen it, are vulnerable to it. Which makes their actions inexplicable to Ichigo, who wonders what they’re doing when they result in one of them being wounded by another one! The Captain General now steps into the fray, determined to take down Aizen himself… even if he dies doing so.

And now it’s everyone against Aizen, with Tosen gone and Gin just standing by. (Wonder why that is?) Will they really be able to take him down? Will the battle for Karakura Town really be over? Or is this just the prelude to something else? I suspect Aizen still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and it won’t be as easy as they hope. Another great volume, look forward to the next!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 44 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 44     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 7, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Yammy holds Rukia in his hammy grasp, and things aren’t looking good for the Soul Reaper when who should appear, like a glorious deus ex machina?  Why, Ichigo Kurosaki, of course! His first comment to Yammy is, “Hey! You’re grown real big since the last time I saw you. I almost didn’t recognize you.” He is always laid back, even in the face of danger. Ichigo has left Orihime in the World of the Living so she can heal Uryu. He’s going to take care of this big guy and then he needs to get back to the big fight, over Karakura Town.

When Ichigo hollowfies, Rukia thinks she notices something different about his mask, and even Ichigo thinks something feels different to him. But things are starting to look bad for Ichigo when two saviors appear on the scene unexpectedly—Byakuya and Kenpachi! And they are arguing over who arrived first! They tell Ichigo to step back so they can fight as he is a major embarrassment. Byakuya tells Ichigo he is needed at home because he is the Deputy Soul Reaper. But Ichigo says he has no way to go…

And then here comes Kurotsuchi, and he sends Ichigo off with Unohana.  Kurotsuchi settles down to watch the fight, and wait for the corpses he wishes to dissect afterward. Growing impatient, though, he tells the two Soul Reapers, “Will you please hurry up and kill each other? If you allow him to get any bigger, it will make the dissection harder.”

Now Aizen is facing Shinji, while Komamura and Hisagi are still squaring off against Tosen. But Tosen has another trick up his sleeve! There seems to be no going back for him, much to Hisagi’s regret.

Getting closer and closer all the time. Ichigo is finally on his way. As he and Unohana travel together, she explains to him why no one else can defeat Aizen, and her explanation really makes sense. She also comes to realize that Ichigo is a lot stronger than she imagined, and perhaps he is the savior they are looking for. The appearance of Byakuya and Kenpachi was unexpected and great!  Also Kurotsuchi. He’s odd but you just gotta love him (just don’t let him experiment on you!).

I think we’re reaching the climax of this arc now. Does Aizen have some master plan, or is he winging this? How will he react when Ichigo enters the scene? Looking forward to finding out!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 43 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 43

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 3, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

It’s sad when former comrades become enemies. Such is the case now, with Tosen face-to-face with Komamura and Hisagi. Hisagi is determined to make Tosen “see” the light and come back to Soul Society. Tosen’s reply to that is “I thought I told you… those who don’t know fear have no right to fight.”

When Hachigen joins Soi Fon and Omaeda in their fight against Berrigan, Soi Fon denies knowing Hachigen. The Berrigan seems invincible, since as he says “Everything decays.” As fast as Hachigen builds barriers, Berrigan destroys them. But Hachigen is shrewd, and he has a cunning plan.

Love and Rose attack Stark, who sics the wolves on them. But just when things seem to be bleak, Shunsui makes an unexpected reappearance, and his fight with Stark is on again, as he explains just how his weapons work. Aizen steps in to stop the fight against Halibel, ending it in an unexpected way. Has Wonderweiss met his match?

And where is Ichigo?

The battles continue in the fight for Karakura Town. I enjoyed seeing the backstories of Stark and Berrigan. What a colossal ego Aizen has, but no one can be surprised at that. The Visoreds fight side by side with the Soul Reapers, mostly through necessity than a spirit of camaraderie, as that is definitely lacking in their relationship. Not surprising considering how Soul Society treated the Visoreds all those years ago for something not of their doing.

I loved watching Shunsui fight, and his techniques are amazing (I may be a little biased lol).

Still, in the end, it’s Ichigo we are all waiting for. Surely his arrival can’t be far off now? Good volume, looking forward to the next one.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 42 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 42       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 3, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

And so the battles between the Thirteen Court Guard Companies and the Espadas continue.

Halibel is dismayed to learn just how powerful Hitsugaya is as he unleashes his Frozen Heavens Hundred Flower Funeral on her, encasing her in ice. Sai Fon and Omaeda face Reaper Barragan, and Sai Fon is forced to use her Bankai. Omaeda has never seen her Bankai before and wonders what she can do with a weapon of that shape.

Shunsui is still facing Stark, and throws his kimono down to Ukitake to catch. Stark calls to Lilinette, who is still trying to fight Ukitake, who refuses to fight a child. Turns out that Stark and Lilinette work together, their powers divided into two bodies. Not only that, but Lilinette becomes a gun that can fire cero blasts! Stark is determined to force Shunsui to use his Bankai, but Shunsui resists, until Stark ups the ante, turning Lilinette into a submachine gun. Things look bad until Ukitake steps in, claiming it isn’t unfair since there are two of them.

Suddenly a garganta appears, and Wonderweiss arrives. According to Stark, “If Wonderweiss is here that can only mean that Lord Aizen’s patience has been exhausted.” Wonderweiss’ unnatural scream shatters Halibel’s ice prison. And the strange creature that came with Wonderweiss has just extinguished the flames surrounding Aizen, Tosen, and Gin… which means they are now free to join the fray.

Although this is a matter of dismay to the Soul Reapers, there is another group who have also just arrived and are just as eager to square off against Aizen et al – namely, Shinji and the other Visoreds. They aren’t thrilled to be working with the Soul Society, but it’s more a question of the enemy of my enemy is my ally. At least for now. Shunsui and Lisa have a touching reunion, and Shinji lets Captain Yamamoto that he considers himself Ichigo’s ally, not Soul Society’s. The Visoreds get their first taste of battle when the strange creature that came with Wonderweiss spews out a bunch of Gillians. Captain Komamura steps up to fight alongside the Visoreds, and to face Tosen as well.  As he does, Hisagi, requests to join that particular fight.

Another battle-heavy volume of Bleach, but it feels like we’re finally progressing. Maybe because Aizen and his toadies have stepped into the fight. There could be no denouement without that. The appearance of the Visoreds was unexpected and very welcome. They certainly have just cause to hate Aizen, although they also have no real love for Soul Society, who should consider themselves lucky to have them as temporary allies. I loved watching Shunsui battle against Stark, and I loved the way Ukitake didn’t hesitate to join him. They’ve been friends for a very long time, and are favorites of the Old Man himself.

Nothing of Ichigo this time around, although that’s just a matter of time since he has defeated Ulquiorra. I guess he needs to figure out how to get out of Hueco Mundo first.

Another great volume, looking forward to the next.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 41 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 41

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 5, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Although it appeared as though Ulquiorra defeated Ichigo, that turns out not to be true. But is the creature that rises from the proverbial ashes really Ichigo? If so, what is he now, and how did he arrive there? Neither Orihime nor Ulquiorra can believe their eyes. While Ulquiorra questions him as to who he is, he receives no response. But whoever this is knows how to fire a cero! That is something no mere human can do.

And so the battle continues…

Meanwhile, Rukia’s battle with Rudbornn is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Yammy, who is really angry with Uryu. Chad marvels at Yammy’s size, having fought with him in the World of the Living. “He was huge back then… but he’s a whole lot bigger now!”

Orihime realizes that this is still Ichigo, there to protect her, as he returns to himself. Ulquiorra is in bad shape. While he can regenerate limbs, that is not true of his organs. He wants to finish this now, but Ichigo tries to attain an even playing field. Ulquiorra tells him, “Hmmph. To the very end, you never do what I want you to do.” He asks Orihime if she is afraid of him and she says, “I’m not.”

Yammy is resolved to avenge Ulquiorra. The others are initially not concerned, as he is Espada 10, and they’ve defeated worse. But then Yammy reveals that they are wrong about the Espada ranks, and he is actually 0… and bigger and badder than they ever imagined!

The other captains’ fights continue. Shunsui receives the grudging admiration of Starrk, while Hitsugaya battles Harribel, and Komamura stands guard while Lieutenant Kira heals the others. Soi Fon and Omaeda face off with the old man, Berrigan, who reveals the true nature of the Espada’s powers – each governs a different form of death. His is senescence, or aging. When he touches Soi Fon’s arm, which begins to rot, she makes an instant decision and demands Omaeda help her immediately! Harribel thinks she has triumphed over Hitsuygaya, because she can also control water. But Hitsugaya lets her know she has far underestimated him.

Decisive battles are being waged here, more enemies defeated. You just know that at some point, Aizen has to be let back into the fray, or what’s the point of him being there? I enjoy the strange relationship between Soi Fon and Omaeda, and I don’t think she really hates or despises him the way she seems to. And he isn’t as weak as he thinks he is. Shunsui is handsome, as always, always glad to see more of him. I loved the battle with Hitsugaya and Harribel. People too often overlook him because he resembles a child, but he is far from that and he is far stronger than people give him credit for.

The most touching part of this volume was the scene between Ulquiorra and Orihime, which made me tear up, and earned Ulquiorra my reluctant admiration. Still loving this series and looking forward to the next book!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 40 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 40     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 5, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As Ichigo and Ulquiorra battle, they assess one another to see in what way their opponent has become more skillful since their last encounter. Orihime stands on the sidelines, helpless to do anything but offer her support to Ichigo, ready to heal him if necessary. Behind her back, though, others are plotting against her. Namely the two girls who were previously the object of Lord Aizen’s wrath for what they tried to do to her. They know Orihime is  no longer under his protection, so she is fair game. And they intend to get even for their imagined slights.

At that moment, Yammy arrives, eager to be part of the fight against Ichigo, although Ulquiorra has certainly not called for him and doesn’t want his help. Too bad for the girls that one chooses to be mouthy, since he obviously doesn’t like them to begin with. But luck is with them, thanks to the arrival of Uryu, but for how long? It’s getting to be a regular three ring circus there! And Uryu knows how to handle the big dummy… with a little help from Mayuri Kurotsuchi.

Turning back to Ulquiorra, Ichigo apologizes for the interruptions, saying “This is what you’ve been waiting to see” just as he goes Hollow. Ulquiorra reveals that Espada above quatra are forbidden to release beneath Las Noches’ canopy. But never fear, he knows how to remedy that. And so the fight continues. As usual, Ichigo never backs down, never considers the possibility of defeat, even though Ulquiorra insists, “I’m telling you – it’s futile!” Ichigo replies,” You thought I’d give up just because you’re stronger than me?” Uryu carries Orihime up to where the fight is taking place. Why is Ulquiorra dismayed to see her there? Is it possible he has a heart and in this heart he cares for Orihime?

This volume of Bleach is all about Ichigo and Ulquiorra, as if to make up for the lack of Ichigo in previous volumes. Not that I’m complaining about that, mind you, but in the end, Ichigo is the star of the show. Still, doesn’t hurt to let the others shine too. They’re all part of the story. But as the hero, we also know in our heart of hearts that Ichigo can’t fail, not even against Ulquiorra. So how bad will the defeat be for the powerful Espada? Only time will tell. But it’s obvious one of them must fall, and logically it can’t be Ichigo.

A riveting volume of Bleach, look forward to the next one!